Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former Pakistan Taliban spokesman who was responsible for the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in 2012 and carrying out the deadly Peshawar Army school terror attack in 2014, has escaped from prison, according to a audio clip released by him. In the audio clip, Ehsan said that he escaped the confinement of Pakistani security agencies on January 11, claiming Pakistani forces failed to keep their promises made to him during his surrender in 2017. “With the help of God, I succeeded to escape on January 11, 2020 from the confinement of the security forces,” he is heard saying in the clip. It would be a big blow to Pakistan and its campaign to eradicate the remnants of Taliban if the clip is proved to be authentic. Without revealing his current location, Ehsan said that he would make a detailed statement about the days of his confinement in the coming days as well as about his future plans. Malala, 22, the youngest Nobel Peace prize winner, was shot by a gunman for campaigning for female education in 2012 in Swat Valley.
14 Rohingya refugees die on boat off Bangladesh
At least 14 people drowned and 70 people were rescued when a boat carrying Rohingya refugees sank off southern Bangladesh, officials said. "So far we have recovered 14 bodies and 70 people alive," coast guard commander Naim ul Haq said , adding that navy and coast guard boats were still searching near St Martin's island in the Bay of Bengal. Many of the 700,000-plus Rohingya who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017 have tried to leave refugee camps in Bangladesh on boats headed for Malaysia.
SA court issues arrest warrant for ex-prez Zuma
A South African court issued an arrest warrant for ex-president Jacob Zuma, after he skipped court on medical grounds, but the judge stayed the warrant until his trial resumes on May 6. Zuma’s lawyer gave the judge sick note from what he said was a hospital, but the judge questioned the note’s validity, as there was no medical number showing if and where the doctor was certified. “I don’t even know if... is a doctor. There is... nothing to suggest that he is.” Zuma is on trial on 18 charges of fraud and money laundering.
Senate acquits Trump of impeachment charges
US President Donald Trump won impeachment acquittal in the US Senate, bringing to a close only the third presidential trial in American history with votes that split the country, tested civic norms and fed the tumultuous 2020 race for the White House. With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, senators sworn to do “impartial justice” stood and stated their votes for the roll call - “guilty” or “not guilty” - in a swift tally almost exclusively along party lines. Trump, the chief justice then declared, shall “be, and is hereby, acquitted of the charges.” The outcome followed months of remarkable impeachment proceedings, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's House to Mitch McConnell's Senate, reflecting the nation's unrelenting partisan divide three years into the Trump presidency. What started as Trump's request for Ukraine to “do us a favor” spun into a far-reaching, 28,000-page report compiled by House investigators accusing an American president of engaging in shadow diplomacy that threatened US foreign relations for personal, political gain as he pressured the ally to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of the next election. No president has ever been removed by the Senate.
Three killed, 179 hurt as plane skids off runway in Istanbul
A Pegasus Airlines plane flying into Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport skidded off the end of a wet runway and broke into three pieces after landing, killing three people and injuring 179, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. The three had died in hospital, with 179 of the 183 aboard wounded, Koca told reporters. The wounded were being treated at 18 nearby hospitals, Ali Yerlikaya, the governor of Istanbul, had said earlier, adding that the plane was carrying 177 passengers and six crew from the western province of Izmir. "The plane could not hold on the runway due to poor weather conditions and skidded for around 50 to 60 metres," Yerlikaya told reporters at the airport. The Boeing 737-86J split into three pieces after what Yerlikaya said was a drop of around 30 to 40 metres at the end of the runway. Footage showed the plane landing and continuing at a high speed off the runway. Passengers had been led out as the plane lay on a patch of grass beside the runway. Dozens of emergency response personnel escorted passengers off before carrying them away on stretchers.
Indonesia calls off ‘pluck a tyre off the croc’ contest
Indonesia has called off a contest offering a cash reward to anyone brave enough to remove a motorbike tyre stuck around the neck of a giant crocodile. Authorities in Palu, capital of Central Sulawesi, said no would-be crocodile wrangler stepped forward to take up the challenge of removing the unwanted necklace from the 13-foot reptile. The contest was rolled out last month, but made headlines again last week when an unspecified reward was offered. The local conservation agency offered few details about the reward. The crocodile has been seen in Palu River and Palu Bay and was first seen stuck in the rubber hoop in 2016. Wildlife activists are concerned the reptile may grow and eventually be strangled by the tyre.
Woman calls 911 with toes after hands get crushed
A woman whose hands were crushed while she was changing a tyre on the side of an interstate in South Carolina managed to call for help using her toes. The unnamed woman, 54, got a flat tyre while driving on a rural stretch of I-95. A jack holding up the car slipped while the woman was putting on the spare tyre, causing the woman’s hands to get stuck between the tyre and the fender, the release said. Over the next 35 minutes, officials said the woman was able to slide off her shoe, manipulate her cell phone and call 911. The woman’s current condition wasn’t known.
Taiwan duo try to smuggle heroin in instant noodles
Two Taiwanese men have been caught trying to smuggle 15kg of heroin in packets of instant noodles from a Bangkok airport, Thai police said, in a kingdom which is a key regional drug route. Police found the haul inside packets of MAMA noodles - a Thai brand ubiquitous across Asia - as well as tins of prickly heat powder. The pair were trying to return to Taiwan when they were arrested on January 30 at Suvarnabhumi Airport after a tip-off, police said.
Russian priests may soon stop blessing nukes
Russian priests should refrain from the practice of blessing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction that can inflict indiscriminate loss of life, according to new guidelines being discussed by the Russian Orthodox Church. Russian priests have long appeared in images sprinkling holy water on submarines, ballistic missiles, Soyuz space rockets and other pieces of hardware as part of rituals to bless them. The proposals will be discussed until June 1.
David Cameron’s bodyguard leaves pistol in plane loo
An investigation has been launched after former British PM David Cameron’s bodyguard left his gun in a toilet on a commercial flight, police said. The Glock semiautomatic pistol was found by a passenger before take-off on the British Airways flight from New York to London, causing a delay and scaring passengers. The officer had also left Cameron’s passport in the loo. The overnight flight landed at London’s Heathrow airport. “We were waiting to take off when a guy started to show pictures on his phone of a gun and two passports - one was David Cameron’s - he said he’d found in the toilet,” a report quoting a passenger as saying. “They were just resting on the side by the sink.” Scotland Yard police headquarters said it was investigating. “The officer involved has since been removed from operational duties,” a spokeswoman said.
Rare salamander stayed in the same spot for 7 years
A rare cave-dwelling salamander reportedly stayed in the same spot in its cave in Europe for seven years, researchers say in a new study. Such intertia apparently isn’t uncommon for the species many of the animals tended to move less than 33 feet in total, “They are hanging around, doing almost nothing,” Gergely Balazs of Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest said.
South Korea mass wedding attracts thousands despite virus fears
South Korean groom Lee Kwon-seok was excited to join thousands of other couples in the latest mass wedding performed by South Korea's Unification Church, but he and his bride weren't taking any chances amid the coronavirus outbreak. They brought their own surgical masks to wear - his black to match his suit, and hers white to match her dress. "I'm very happy to attend this deeply blessed joint wedding," said Lee, 35. "Since coronavirus is going around these days, I wore a mask to be careful." About 30,000 people from around the world gathered at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul, according to the church. Among them were 6,000 new couples getting married, while the others were renewing vows or watching. The mass weddings are a well-known feature of the South Korea-based church, but the spread of the new coronavirus, first reported in China, has cast a pall over many public events. Church staff prepared hand sanitizer, handed out surgical masks and checked couples' temperature.
US warns of sexual assault risk in Spain
The US embassy in Madrid has warned that Americans visiting Spain are at a heightened risk because of “a rise in sexual assault” in the country in recent years - a rare such countrywide alert for a European nation. A security alert from the embassy comes at a time when Spanish authorities are investigating a rape accusation filed by three American sisters against three Afghan men over events on New Year’s Eve in southeastern Spain. It also warned of the challenges that those who experience sexual assault face when seeking justice in the Spanish legal system. In response, the Spanish interior ministry said that Spain had one of the lowest sex crime rates in Europe and that the country was actively fighting such crime.
90-yr-old ‘chef of the poor’ cooks for Rome’s homeless
Dino Impagliazzo dices onions like a master chef and makes a mean vegetable soup, but most of his loyal “customers” can’t afford to buy even a bread stick. Sprightly despite his 90 years, Impagliazzo is known as Rome’s “chef of the poor”. Three days a week, he and other volunteers of the RomAmoR (RomeLove) association he founded make the rounds of food markets and bakeries for contributions from retailers. The RomAmoR volunteers cook food on four days of the week and serve it in various places in the city. It all began 15 years ago when a homeless man at a train station asked him for money to buy a sandwich. “I realised making sandwiches for him and for his friends would be better,” he said.
Female tourist held in Maldives for wearing bikini
A female tourist has been arrested in the Maldives for wearing a bikini. The woman was arrested on the non-resort island of Maafushi. A video of the incident went viral on social media. In the video the woman, wearing a black bikini, is seen struggling against three cops as they drag her away from the beach. One officer is seen holding a beach towel trying to cover her up. The woman can be heard shouting, “You are sexually assaulting me”. The arrest prompted Maldives’ police service commissioner to apologise. He said: “Incident seems to be badly handled. It is being investigated.”
Prince Harry reveals he left royal family to protect son
Prince Harry has spoken out about leaving the royal family and revealed he’s in therapy during a speech, according to reports. Harry was speaking at the Alternative Investment Summit in Florida, according to New York Post. A source told the paper: “Harry spoke about how he has been in therapy for the past few years to try to overcome the trauma of losing his mother... He talked about how the events of his childhood affected him.” “Harry said while (Megxit) has been difficult on him and Meghan, he doesn’t regret their decision to step down as senior royals because he wants to protect his family. He does not want Meghan and their son Archie to go through what he did as a child,” the source said.